Small swine farm manure management in the summer

Best practices to keep manure in check for your swine herd in the summer season.

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Compost pile at a swine facility. Photo by Dale Rozeboom, MSU Extension.

Managing manure on small swine farms during the summer is crucial for environmental sustainability and overall farm hygiene. Here are some tips to help you effectively handle manure,


Composting is an effective way to manage swine manure. Create a designated composting area on your farm where manure can be piled and turned regularly. Composting helps reduce odor, pathogens and weed seeds while producing nutrient-rich compost that can be used as fertilizer.

Vegetative Buffers

Plant vegetative buffers around manure storage areas to help filter runoff and prevent soil erosion. These buffers can consist of grasses and other plants that absorb excess nutrients and protect water quality. Remove manure from swine housing areas to avoid waste buildup. This helps with odor and pest control and reduces the risk of nutrient runoff during rain events.

Adequate Storage

Ensure manure storage facilities are appropriately designed and maintained. Summer rains can lead to runoff and sufficient storage prevents nutrient-rich water from contaminating nearby water sources. If your farm uses liquid manure storage pits, consider covering them to avoid excess evaporation and reduce odor emissions. Remember to use caution when entering these pits if manure gases have built up in the facility.

Utilize Pasture Rotation

If you can access pasture, practice rotational grazing. This allows pigs to graze in one area while others recover, and their natural rooting behavior can help break down manure naturally. Be sure to offer access to water and shade in these paddocks.

Nutrient Management Plan

Develop a nutrient management plan that considers the nutrient content of the manure and the needs of crops. This helps optimize manure as a fertilizer while minimizing the risk of nutrient runoff. Be mindful of the nutrient content in the manure and avoid overapplying it to fields. This can lead to nutrient imbalances in the soil and contribute to pollution. Testing your manure and soil is best by sending a sample to a lab. Apply manure at the right time in the crop's growth cycle to maximize nutrient uptake and minimize runoff. Avoid spreading manure before or after heavy rain or on frozen and snow-covered ground. Since the weather conditions are more favorable for manure management during the summer, it is essential to keep GAAMP's sustainable practices in mind. It is also important to remember how to properly dispose of and contain dead animals in the hot months.

Education and Training

Ensure farm personnel are educated in proper manure management and safety practices. Training can help them understand the environmental impacts of poor manure management and motivate them to follow best practices.

By implementing these practices, small swine farms can effectively manage manure during the summer, promoting sustainability and minimizing environmental impacts. Always consult with local agricultural Extension services or environmental agencies for specific guidelines and regulations in your area.

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